Science & Technology Reviews | November 15, 2013

Pilley, John W. with Hilary Hinzmann. Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. 256p. index. ISBN 9780544102576. $26. PETS

Many dog owners think their own pet is smart, but get ready to meet an energetic and truly intelligent border collie, Chaser. Pilley (psychology, emeritus, Wofford Coll.) shares a remarkable story of his family dog, who over a period of three years learned to recognize and fetch more than 1,000 objects by name and eventually was even taught the meaning of different types of words such as verbs and prepositions. Pilley conducted other experiments and concluded that Chaser has two cognitive abilities: memory storage and working memory. Pilley’s findings were published in a scholarly journal, and Chaser has appeared on the Today Show and CBS Evening News and was featured in a NOVA Science Now episode on animal intelligence along with Alex, Irene Pepperberg’s fascinating parrot. While the author focuses on Chaser’s intelligence, he writes charmingly about fun, loyalty, and the friendship that an older man and his companion dog share. VERDICT Along with Pepperberg’s Alex & Me, Chaser’s remarkable story adds to our evolving understanding of how animals learn and is recommended for dog and animal intelligence collections.—Eva ­Lautemann, formerly with Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston

Ogle, Maureen. In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2013. 384p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780151013401. $28. HOME ECON

Ogle (Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer) provides an unflinching look at the history of American meat industries: beef, pork, and poultry. She deftly details the peculiar struggles that led to an embrace of industrialization—changes that were seen as near miracles of science and production, designed to make food labor safer, more efficient, and better able to feed the nation. In particular, the combined forces of two world wars and the rise in the number of factories led thousands to seek their fortunes in cities, depriving farms of much needed workers. Factorylike farming solved the labor shortage, but farmers experienced the paradox of plenty: squeezed by too much supply, they were unable to sell at prices high enough to pay their own bills. Ogle generally keeps her opinions to a minimum and reserves her harshest criticism for the American public, whom she believes to be an entitled bunch that has spent the last century demanding that the paradox of plenty always be rigged in their favor. VERDICT In this work, which compares with Roger Horowitz’s Putting Meat on the American Table: Taste, Technology, Transformation, Ogle expertly examines and illuminates the complex history of food, farming, politics, consumption, and the growth of a nation. Her fluid prose will appeal to skeptical readers who enjoy their history without an excess of preaching.—Rosemarie Lewis, Georgetown Cty. Lib., SC

Orenstein, Ronald. Ivory, Horn and Blood: Behind the Elephant and Rhinoceros Poaching Crisis. Firefly. Nov. 2013. 216p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781770852273. $29.95. NAT HIST

Despite bans on commercial trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn, despite laws and penalties against poaching and smuggling, and despite international treaties (such as the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) designed to protect endangered species, the poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa is at an all-time high, in large part owing to continued demand coming from East Asia. Approximately 25,000 elephants were killed for ivory in 2011. Orenstein (Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins), a wildlife conservationist, tells an appalling story of how persistent greed for ivory and rhino horn has drastically reduced African elephant and rhino populations. Crime syndicates meet the unrelenting demand by using heavily armed poaching gangs to raid Africa’s wildlife preserves and national parks. Orenstein brings his considerable expertise to bear on this complex catastrophe, presenting all sides of some of the most polarizing issues debated today, such as legalizing the ivory trade. VERDICT This book, on a tragedy that demands worldwide attention and informed consumers, is recommended for all wildlife conservation collections as a companion to John F. Walker’s Ivory’s Ghosts: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants.—­Cynthia Lee Knight, Hunterdon Cty. Lib., Flemington, NJ

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Dearsley, James. From A to Bee: My First Year as a Beginner Beekeeper. Summersdale. 2013. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781849532723. pap. $13.95. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Taylor-Laino, Barbara. The Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook: 75 Whole-Food Recipes and Tasty Treats for Dogs and Cats of All Ages. Fair Winds: Quayside. 2013. 176p. photos. index. ISBN 9781592335718. pap. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9781610588867. PETS

Warren, Cat. What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs. Touchstone. 2013. 352p. photos. notes. index. ISBN 9781451667318. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781451667332. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY


Cimperman, Sarah. The Prediabetes Detox: A Whole-Body Program To Balance Your Blood Sugar, Increase Energy, and Reduce Sugar Cravings. New Harbinger. Nov. 2013. 224p. bibliog. ISBN 9781608828128. pap. $16.95. HEALTH

Davis, Brenda & Vesanto Melina. Becoming Vegan: Express Edition. rev. ed. Book Pub. 2013. 283p. index. ISBN 9781570672958. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781570679032. HEALTH

DiSpirito, Rocco. The Pound a Day Diet: Lose Up to 5 Pounds in 5 Days by Eating the Foods You Love. Grand Central. Jan. 2014. 320p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781455523672. $26. HEALTH

Goodman, Dennis. Magnificent Magnesium: Your Essential Key to a Healthy Heart and More. Square One. Nov. 2013. 184p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780757003912. pap. $14.95. HEALTH

Torrey, E. Fuller. American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System. Oxford Univ. 2013. 224p. notes. index. ISBN 9780199988716. $27.95. HEALTH


Capps, Tyler (text & illus.). Cooking Comically: Recipes So Easy You’ll Actually Make Them. Perigee. 2013. 186p. illus. ISBN 9780399164040. pap. $18.95. COOKING

Levy, Walter. The Picnic: A History. AltaMira: Rowman & Littlefield. (Meals). Nov. 2013. 180p. photos. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780759121805. $38; ebk. ISBN 9780759121829. HOME ECON

McFarland, Ben. Boutique Beer: 500 Quality Craft Beers. Barron’s. 2013. 224p. photos. ISBN 9780764165740. $29.99. BEVERAGES

Steinberger, Michael. The Wine Savant: A Guide to the New Wine Culture. Norton. Dec. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780393082715. $24.95. BEVERAGES


Atkins, Peter. What Is Chemistry? Oxford Univ. Nov. 2013. 122p. index. ISBN 9780199683987. $19.95. SCI

Moffat, John W. Cracking the Particle Code of the Universe: The Hunt for the Higgs Boson. Oxford Univ. Jan. 2014. 240p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780199915521. $29.95. SCI

Oldfield, Molly. The Secret Museum: Some Treasures Are Too Precious To Display…. Firefly. Nov. 2013. 352p. illus. index. ISBN 9781770852570. $35. SCI

O’Toole, Christopher. Bees: A Natural History. Firefly. Nov. 2013. 240p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781770852082. $40. NAT HIST

Prud’homme, Alex. Hydrofracking: What Everyone Needs To Know. Oxford Univ. (What Everyone Needs To Know). Dec. 2013. 192p. notes. index. ISBN 9780199311262. $75; pap. ISBN 9780199311255. $16.95. TECH

Reid, Catherine. Falling into Place: An Intimate Geography of Home. Beacon. Feb. 2014. 184p. notes. ISBN 9780807009925. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807009932. NAT HIST